Louisiana Tech to Cover ATS is the NCAA Basketball Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 4:00 PM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Tuesday.

 

Even in ACC territory Tuesday night, the Conference USA team gets our underdog call when those Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (8-3, 2-3 away) pay a visit to the NC State Wolfpack (9-3, 9-1 home) at PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC at 7:00 ET in a game available on ESPN3.

The point spread at Bet365 has Louisiana Tech as a decided underdog for this contest with the current line at +6½ with odds of -110.


Teams are Close on Pomeroy Ratings
Conference affiliations aside, these teams are very close on the Pomeroy Ratings overall and in the adjusted efficiency ratings, so close that the Bulldogs seem like overlays getting more than four points or so here. Louisiana Tech comes off of a 29-8 season that included going 13-3 inside of Conference USA, but unfortunately the Bulldogs were upset by Tulsa in the Conference USA Tournament.

Thus La. Tech settled for an NIT bid, where it beat Iona and Georgia to reach the Elite Eight before losing just 78-75 to another ACC team, Florida State on the road.

NC State finished 22-14 in the 2013-14 and some thought the Wolfpack may have been on the NCAA Tournament bubble after a 19-12 regular season. However they punched their ticket to the Big Dance by winning two games in the ACC Tournament before an eight-point loss to Duke, and then beat Xavier in a First Four game before being the losing NCAA Basketball picks to Saint Louis in the second round.


La. Tech Already Scared one ACC Team
The Bulldogs are looking to take the next step this season by winning the C-USA Tournament and going Dancing, and they off to a nice 8-3 start. Granted they have not played a great schedule as it ranks just 334th in SOS, but Louisiana Tech went a long way toward validating its record the last time it stepped up in competition, visiting another tough ACC venue in Syracuse and throwing a major scare into the Orange before falling just 71-69.

That was two games ago and the Bulldogs showed no ill effects by bouncing back and routing Nicholls State 79-54 in a potential letdown spot. Louisiana Tech is ranked 59th overall on Pomeroy, making it the highest ranked Conference USA team in the country, and the Bulldogs are ranked 35th in offensive efficiency and 114th in defensive efficiency, both of which are adjusted for schedule.


Enjoying Home Cooking
Those rankings are eerily similar to the Wolfpack, who are only three spots ahead of Louisiana Tech at 56th overall while ranking 33rd in offensive efficiency and 109th in defensive efficiency. The differences in those rankings between these two squads do not seem to justify this big of a spread, especially since NC State has not played a terrific schedule either ranking 273rd in SOS and also benefitted by playing 10 of its 12 games at home.

And one of those home games resulted in an upset loss to a Wofford team ranked 94th on Pomeroy.

While these teams have similar profiles on both ends of the court, one area where the underdog Bulldogs could have a rather decided edge is in turnovers, because La. Tech protects the ball very well ranking 32nd in the country in offensive turnover percentage at 16.9 percent vs. a national average of 20.0 percent, while NC State applies practically no pressure ranking 341st out of 351 Division I teams in defensive turnover percentage at just 15.7 percent.

That means that Louisiana Tech should get a chance to run its offense relatively unencumbered, which is dangerous for a team ranked 53rd in the nation in effective field goal percentage at 52.7 percent, as the Bulldogs are shooting 37.6 percent from beyond the three-point arc and are making 50.6 percent of their two-point shots.


Not Great ATS vs. Winning Teams
Finally, the Wolfpack have not really been great investments vs. the better teams they have faced as of late regardless of the venue, as NC State is only 1-4 ATS in its last five games vs. teams with winning records.

Look for Louisiana Tech to continue its habit of playing close games on the ACC road when it visits NC State, with an outright upset not at all impossible on Tuesday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Louisiana Tech +6½ (-110)